All big hotel companies have venues where they try out new room designs, guest technology and so on, but they are usually not open to the public until the new concepts are actually approved and deployed. Marriott has repurposed the Charlotte Marriott City Center in North Carolina as the lodging giant’s testing lab for new hotel concepts. It’s now called M-Beta at Charlotte Marriott City Center, and guests are trying out the new ideas in real time. Among the concepts being tested: The elimination of the front desk, replaced by personal greeters who meet arriving guests in the lobby or curbside; video workout guides in the hotel’s fitness studio or in their rooms; and a new “social hub” that lets guests mingle, try out coffee and food offerings from local small businesses, and enjoy a variety of musical, entertainment and educational events. To read more at Travel Skills, click here.